By Dr. Darin Hand, director, Columbia College-Whidbey Island

You might notice that that there is a new name attached to this edition of CC Connected. Before I briefly (and humbly) introduce myself, I’d like to acknowledge our long-time director, regional director for region 3, and our very dear friend MarJean Knokey. MarJean retired from Columbia College in January of this year after over 20 years with this organization and over 40 in higher education. She remains close by, enjoying her retirement, sailing with her husband, as well as spending time with their new grand-daughter. She has left tremendous shoes to fill and my hope is to do the best I can. With that, a little bit about your new helmsman.

NS Everett/Marysville and Whidbey Island Director Dr. Darin Hand

I actually began working for Columbia College as an adjunct faculty member before I retired as the Command Master Chief (Senior Enlisted) for NAS Whidbey Island in 2009. I have called Whidbey Island home for over 30 years. I am grateful that I can continue that role as it allows me to personally help our faculty through my own lessons learned. I spent nearly 30 years in the Navy deploying on many aircraft carriers. In addition to that, we were fortunate enough to be stationed in Japan for four years and Rota, Spain for another two. After retirement from the Navy, I became an Academic Advisor for CC and was eventually promoted to Associate Director. I believe that learning is a life-long endeavor so after I retired (and while working) I went back to school and earned my doctoral degree. I still have VA benefits left over so you might catch me in a Columbia College course from time to time.

I’ll close by saying that I am committed to the success of our staff, our students and our faculty. I look forward to earning the responsibilities that MarJean was so gracious to recommend me for and that Columbia College has entrusted me with. I look forward to the weeks, months and years ahead as we continue to improve on the culture, climate and processes that make our institution the #3 most military friendly college in the U.S.!

Have a great summer and see you about!